The desire to extend your organization’s capacities and resources through partnerships with others ideally connects (1) what benefits your organization with (2) what benefits another organization.
Identify the motivation behind what your organization could do with another organization. That makes it much easier to articulate your intentions, both within your own organization and externally towards another organization.
Communicating your intentions also clarifies whether an opportunity is driven by a particular set of circumstances, or might entail a broader set of conditions applicable to future endeavors.
Every relationship will involve a range of dynamics across people and interests. Each dynamic can (and will) change over time — for good (or for bad), for better (or worse).
When your team is considering a request or offer, it knows why others are approaching you. You are aware of your tolerance for risk. You are aware of your position, without abusing your strengths or exploiting the vulnerabilities of others. You do not consider your organization as stronger, better, or more valuable than others.
If your team is in the position of approaching other parties, you want to know what you’re seeking and why. You seek good interactions. You aim for honest intentions. You have clear expectations. You aim to realize positive results. You do not consider your organization as weaker or less important than others.
Every organization has its own set of values and principles, particularly embraced through its mission statement. Good organizations remain strong organizations when their work stays grounded in those principles and values.
The time will come, indeed, when your organization will want — or need — something from other organizations.
You want to make a decision based on a clear strategy. You want to ensure your organization needs and priorities inform your thinking. You want to know what will benefit your stakeholders. You want to know what is feasible with your resources; and what is reasonable in alignment with your mission, principles, and values.
Organizations with the ability to understand all key considerations from all perspectives are in a solid position to determine what is useful, relevant, and beneficial to a good working relationship which benefits all involved.